The Trump administration and House Republicans have taken a hard line on several issues, including those that greatly affect the nation’s poor.
House Representatives voted Thursday to rescind nearly $15 million in unspent funding that had been approved in recent years. They passed a rescissions package in a move that Republican California Rep. and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said would allow for the trimming of a “bloated federal budget.” What the move also brought was a $7 billion cut to money allotted for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the New York Times reported.
Taking away those unused billions for CHIP would not change how much the government now spends on the program or affect the number of children with coverage, the Congressional Budget Office contended. However, the nation cannot forget that Trump and his administration’s policies have continued to adversely affect the poor.
With CHIP, millions of children from low and moderate-income households have gotten coverage under the program since it was created under a 1997 law passed with bipartisan support during President Bill Clinton‘s administration. Pregnant women have also gotten coverage through CHIP, which Congress finally renewed in January, The Washington Post reported. The program had expired at the end of last September though a temporary spending bill provided $2.85 billion for the program last December.
A reported 8.9 million children were enrolled in fiscal year 2016, according to Medicaid’s government website. If CHIP were to be underfunded, millions of kids could lose needed health insurance coverage.
Housing Secretary Ben Carson also recently announced his latest Department of Housing and Urban Development plan to raise rents by roughly 20 percent, or between $510 to $980, each year for roughly 4 million low-income households receiving HUD assistance. This extreme increase is nearly “six times greater than the growth in average hourly earnings, putting the poorest workers at an increased risk of homelessness because wages simply haven’t kept pace with housing expenses,” The Associated Press reported. Children would be hurt the most from proposed rent increases, with more than 3 million kids living in those households, AP noted.
The HUD proposal is another weapon being used by the administration to scale back protections for the poor. Carson keeps preaching his constant personal responsibility politics, saying that the plan would help millions of low-income Americans became self-sufficient. However, the plan, which needs congressional approval, may cause millions earning lower incomes to become homeless.
Considering education, teachers have confronted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in May about pushing school choice and pulling funds away from public schools that are largely attended by students from lower-income households. The administration clearly hasn’t treated the nation’s poor well.